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Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
Gertrude Feaster
Our beautiful and loving "Trudi" passed away at home with her family at her side on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, after a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer.
Gertrude Ann Fullenkamp Feaster, "Trudi," was born at 8:21 p.m. June 23, 1951, at the Lady of Mercy Hospital in Coldwater to Louis John and Bernadette Elizabeth Post Fullenkamp, who are deceased.
She is survived by her husband of 38-and-a-half years, Mike; her three children, R. Bradley of Castle Rock, Colo., Ashley Elizabeth (Shawn) Lemon of Highlands Ranch, Colo. and Leah Michelle (Brian) Smith of Castle Rock, Colo.; her three grandchildren, Kailey Ann, Deven Alexander and Braeden Michael Smith; brothers and sisters, Carl (Penny) Fullenkamp of Tucson, Ariz., Len (Mary Kaye) Fullenkamp of Boiling Springs, Pa., Dan (Jean) Fullenkamp of Silver Springs, Md., Albert (Sue) Fullenkamp and Tessie (Bob) Christian of Kettering, Luke (Sue) and Jim (Ruth) Fullenkamp of Minster, John (Kate) and Phil (Peg) Fullenkamp and Trina (Jim) Schwieterman of St. Henry and Kay (Jim) Reagan of Hilliard.
Deceased are a sister, Mary Lou Fullenkamp; her stepmother, Zita V. Fullenkamp of St. Henry; and her in-laws, Richard Moore and Helen Warner Feaster of Elkins, W.Va.
She grew up in St. Henry, the sixth child of the eventual 13 children in the family. She attended St. Henry Catholic Church and school, and St. Henry public schools, graduating from high school in 1969. She went on to Dayton to attend St. Elizabeth Medical Center School of Nursing, graduating with her nursing degree in 1972 and entering the United States Air Force Nurse Corps in July 1972. Her first duty assignment was Nellis Air Force Base, North Las Vegas, Nevada on the Medical Surgical Nursing Unit. While at Nellis, Trudi discovered her nursing forte was labor and delivery and maternal child nursing. She went on to specialize in this area for the remainder of her almost 40 year nursing career. Trudi completed her active duty Air Force commitment and entered the Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of captain. Also while at Nellis, Trudi met and later married William Michael Feaster, "Mike," on July 26, 1974, in the St. Henry Catholic Church. While as a civilian nurse in Las Vegas, she was on the ground floor and one of the lead nurses in the development of the second, for the nation at that time, neonatal intensive care units at Sunrise Medical Center, Las Vegas. She assisted in the development of neonatal nursing standards that are currently in use throughout the nation. Trudi went on to follow Mike's Air Force career by moving to the Dayton area in 1977, where they settled in Beavercreek Township and she resumed working at her alma mater, St. Elizabeth Medical Center in their Labor and Delivery Unit.  Trudi over the years gave birth to three children, all three born at Saint Elizabeth Medical Center. This was a special time because she could be so close to family. Bradley was the first in April 1978, followed by Ashley Elizabeth in March 1980 and Leah Michelle in October 1981. Trudi, Mike and family traveled to West Germany in the spring of 1986 to a little known German Air Base just outside of Koln, where Mike was assigned as an independent duty medical technician. Unable to work in the local economy as a registered nurse, she proudly volunteered as a teacher's aid at the local Department of Defense Dependents School in Norvenich, West Germany. Her children loved her "normal hours" during such an important phase of their lives. She made them such strong students with the desire to learn and of adventure. In addition, she volunteered to advise expectant mothers on all matters of maternal child health and labor and delivery since the only approved hospital for their deliveries was 60 miles away in the Netherlands.  Since the American contingent on the German Air Base was a small one, close friendships and a true family community was fostered through Trudi's efforts to help expectant mothers. In the fall of 1990, Trudi and family moved from Germany to Omaha, Neb., where Mike was assigned as superintendent, Maternal Child Health at Offutt, AFB. She was eager to return to her labor and delivery passion.  Trudi continued her labor and delivery career, first at Bergan Mercy Medical Center in downtown Omaha and later at Ehrling Bergquist Hospital, Offutt Air Force Base once Mike became superintendent, Family Practice Residency Program. With the close of the Maternal Child Health Unit in May 2005, Trudi was selected to be the first civilian registered nurse to work with and in the 55th Aerospace Medicine Clinic in support of the various flying missions. She received many awards for her exceptional service to pilots and their families.  Trudi ended this career in April 2011 when she moved to Colorado to be closer to her children and grandchildren.  Trudi volunteered for a number of years with Teddy Bear Hollow, an organization that helps the bereavement of children and adults who lose a parent or child.  She was very passionate about this because she lost her mom as a teenager and witnessed the effects of this loss on her younger siblings.  Trudi began working as a patient transfer coordinator and later as a visiting labor & delivery nurse in support of Colorado's rural community hospitals until her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in June 2012.
Trudi, so passionate about family and caring for others, lived for her children and grandchildren and was intensely proud of them and often remarked how much joy they brought her! She will be remembered for her beautiful smile, sparkling eyes, nurturing demeanor and dry wit. She has left a great impression upon her children and grandchildren, and her legacy will live on through them! She was a Godly woman of great faith who lived her life honestly with great love, integrity, compassion and caring for others, especially babies and children.
Trudi will forever be remembered as a loving gracious mother and wife who loved life and her family so deeply and always put them before herself!
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Wendelin Catholic Church in Wendelin. Fr. Thomas J. Beischel, C.P.P.S., is officiating. Interment will follow at the Saint Henry Cemetery, St. Henry.
Hogenkamp Funeral Home, Coldwater, is in charge of final arrangements.
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